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GUIDE TO SAFER
HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

This article recommends using specific materials and techniques in the home as substitutes for commonly-used household products that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment in general. These alternative products and techniques have been collected from a wide variety of sources. Some have been carefully tested. Others are traditional recommendations that have been passed down for generations without formal testing. You will probably discover that most of them are going to save you money. If one recommendation doesn't do the job or seems like too much work, don't give up. Try another.

As we begin to understand the importance of keeping hazardous products out of our homes, more and more attention will be focused on safer ways to maintain our homes. Watch for new products and ideas.

This is an important and exciting period. We are all starting to recognize that each of us must take responsibility for the impacts caused by products that we buy.

What Are Hazardous Household Products?

Hazardous household products are products purchased for use in the home, containing ingredients that, because of their chemical properties, have the potential to harm people or the environment. Typical hazardous products include:

Even though easily purchased at the local store, a product can still be harmful to you, your family and the environment. Many household products contain chemicals that are poisonous, corrosive, flammable, and/or chemically reactive. Many have not been tested for potential long-term health effects on humans.

Households with small children must be especially careful about the hazardous nature of a product. In the hands of a curious child, products that are reasonably safe when used as directed can cause grievous harm. In 1990, 11% of calls to Poison Control Center involved a child and a cleaning product.

Improper disposal of these products can endanger the health of your family, the community, sanitation workers, and the environment.

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Excerpted from an article written by: Alicia A. Flynn & Rory E. Kessler - Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program


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